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Corporate Aristocracy

“The for-profit health insurance situation in America is an embarrassment and a disgrace.  We need to provide as a country basic and essential health insurance coverage for all Americans, without the profit motive.” – Dr. Joseph Scherger

I’m not sure if I’ve said this on my blog, but I’ve said it in real life. I think it is ethically and morally wrong for parties who provide no service to make money on healthcare (or the denial of it). The corporate structure simply does not work in the context of healthcare.

When the primary managers of insurance companies and hospitals are investors, they are more worried about profit motive than humanitarian action. They tend to do two things: hire more administrative managers to ‘keep down’ costs and maintain corporate protocol or whatever. (I’ve seen it happen in other companies that transition from private to corporate.)  And then they require not just a profit margine, but growing profits! This is especially true of public corporations.

Businesses that are public corporations cannot have ideologies that put the customer first. They have become dependent on capital from parties who do not care what they are doing, only how much money they are making and further, if the company will make even more money later on. What happens is that profit becomes the product that the company is selling.

When this is paired with things that are directly connected to the quality of life of the customers, it will degrade that quality. It creates a state in which people are profiting off the suffering of others. And that is wrong.

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  1. I completely agree (and so would my Swedish friend). Have you watched “Sicko” yet? I recommend it to everyone, especially the supplemental commentary after the film is over (on DVD).

  2. All insurance companies make money on protecting people from misfortune. It’s the name of the game. Corporate medicine is where the real problem is. When medicine is run by a corporation you see bigger and better hospitals, new wings, all the latest equipment, and big billing departments. I am not saying all of this is bad necessarily. It’s just that we don’t need hospitals and doctor’s offices to be posh. We just need them to be clean, comfortable, and efficient. If you want posh surroundings following your surgery, go to hotel room and hire a private nurse. You will most likely get a better level of care for much less than half of the cost. The only problem there would be getting the doc to come visit you.

    Things that still work are trashed for newer and bigger as tax write offs. Doctor’s offices are remodeled and redecorated every couple of years as a tax write off. You see ER docs getting $400 or $500 for a five minute exam. You see people without insurance being charged way more than the insurance companies for the same service. Why not give self paying patients the same price as isurance companies? That could be a tax write off too if they weren’t able to pay. Remodeling and redecorating are fine if done occasionally, but unnecessary every two or three years.

    New technology is more important, and we need to have more than one mri machine per city so wait times for testing are not long. This is big problem in Canada with their government health care. Patients are taken on first come first served basis regardless of need, so you could end up waiting months to find out what kind of tumor you have growing in your brain. My niece, who lived in Calgary for several years, knew a single mom who did have a tumor in her brain. Her wait time for an mri was four months. That’s why wealthy Canadians come to the US for their serious medical treatment. Socialized medicine works great for strep throat and appendicitis, but not so well for more complicated problems.

    There has got to be an answer, but I don’t know what it is. The insurance companies have too much power in deciding what treatment is needed. Malpractice suits have made malpractice insurance a very expensive necessity. Corporate medicine makes poor choices in their tax write offs. Medical fees are outrageous and getting higher every day. When Ami was a baby, an average visit to the doc’s office was about $15. When Ami was born our bills for the doctor, labor and delivery room, and a three day hospital stay was about $500 and that included prenatal care 6 week check-ups for mom and baby. I am not sure what the inflation rate is, but I do know that the price of milk and eggs have not risen at that rate.

    I don’t think government should take over the health care system. The government is too big and powerful as it is. If you think you have problems with insurance companies telling what procedure you can have and how much they will pay for it, wait until the government bureaucrats get their fingers in. New laws to control pricing? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to be wise enough to have the answers, but government sponsored health care does not work. The quality of health care goes down. Just ask anyone who lives in a country with socialized medicine. Ask Vladimir about his dental care in Russia. Would you want to wait 4 months for an mri to see what kind of tumor you have growing in your brain?

  3. government sponsored health care does not work. The quality of health care goes down. Just ask anyone who lives in a country with socialized medicine.

    I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree. Ask yourself why we are the only civilized nation left on earth without universal healthcare if “it does not work” as you claim. Then ask pretty much ANY European if they would trade their healthcare system for ours, and they not only would tell you “NO!”, they are likely to add that they think what we are doing here is barbaric, leaving over 40 million Americans without affordable healthcare.

    That said, no system is perfect. But if enough smart people put their heads together and looked at systems that work pretty well (think Sweden, Norway, France, etc.) and take the best ideas from them and implement them here, we could vastly improve what we have. The number one reason people go bankrupt and homeless in America is because of medical bills. That’s a crying shame.

    You and your mom should sit down together, regardless of what you personally think of Michael Moore, and rent and watch Sicko. I’d really like to see your reaction to it.

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